15 summer desserts

15 summer desserts

As I was mentioning the other day, life in Paris in the summer can be really sucky. So you find comfort where you can, which in my case usually involves food. Thank goodness for the abundance of fruit this season, otherwise I’d be at loss as to where I could find said comfort, save for carbs and cheese, of course. But here we are in the dessert section, so let’s focus on 1) fresh and vibrant berries 2) lemon and exotic fruit 3) one (that’s right, I typed ‘one’) chocolate dessert recipe, because recently my better half came home from an organized party at a restaurant with a set menu, in which the dessert didn’t feature any type of chocolate whatsoever. Needless to say, he was appalled. And outraged. My reaction? “…Okay.” (imagine a “who cares?” face to go with it, but it might just be me).

So I’m realizing that for most regular people, if you’re going to come up with a list of dessert, that list will need to include at least one item with chocolate. Let’s make that a life rule.

(Click on the picture for the recipe)

Getting started with coconut rice pudding with strawberry puree sounds just right – these make you want to dive into summer.


Frozen strawberry cheesecake: the only kind of frozen treat you will find on this blog. I’m not much for ice cream, except, evidently, when it comes in the shape of cheesecake. (Another life rule: anything in the shape of cheesecake is systematically better.)

salade fraises menthe - strawberry mint salade

To round up the strawberry section, a simple, stylish and fresh dessert from the early days of the blog: strawberry mint salad with lime. That one’s for the lazy a$$*£ out there.


Transitioning from strawberries to raspberries, this strawberry raspberry tiramisu with muscat hits all the right spots, plus it has booze in it (=> muscat), so just lean into it.


A slightly more involved yet airy and light version of the raspberry + cream dessert combo is this raspberry victoria sponge cake. For all of you out there who have birthdays in the summer.


If you’re more into easy peasy summer cakes, this raspberry buttermilk cake is for you.

gateau mures citron -- blackberry lemon cake

Or you can opt for this lemon blackberry cake, from the days when I obviously didn’t have a clue what food photography meant (I cringe so bad looking at this pic that I actually conveniently forgot to add it in the first draft of this post) (Please move past the doubt and focus on the pretty juicy blackberries: they will take you there.)

financiers-citron-lemon-financiers-1-of-1-2-682x1024After another smooth transition (hey I didn’t go to college for nothing), here we are knee-deep in the lemon section –and I actually had to skim it quite a bit for this list– with lemon financiers, to nibble at coming home from an afternoon at the beach.

lemon scones citron

Or if you feel the need for more of a posh factor in your life, you can opt for these lemon cornmeal scones, perfect for a summer brunch.


I love how naturally pink and cute and fun these little raspberry lemonade bars look. I feel like they’re children’s toys.

gateau courgettes amandes - almond zucchini bread

No smooth transition for this almond zucchini bread; it actually stands on its own with the amazing trick that zucchini is when all you’re wearing is a bathing suit day in and day out.


Coconut banana tapioca pudding takes you instantly somewhere exotic, either for breakfast in a bowl or in smaller individual portions for dessert.

gateau chocolat lait de coco -- coconut milk chocolate cake

The one and only chocolate recipe on this list: chocolate coconut milk cake, no butter, no oil, just pleasure (because chocolate = pleasure, if I’m getting it right.)


Orange blossom pudding: because you are instantly transported to a fragrant sunny village in the Mediterranean.

tartelettes-pêche-kiwi peach tartletsAnd the cherry on top of this list (ha ha) are these kiwi peach tartlets, made with fresh fruit, crunchy, sweet and creamy at once.

Vegan lentil patties

steaks de lentilles vegan lentil patties

I’ve always been wary of vegetable burgers, especially of those who long to resemble meat burgers… Until today. I’d had my eye on this recipe for lentil patties for a while now, in my new favorite vegan cookbook in which I want to make every. single. recipe, and I’m glad I got started with this one. I thought I would have to make several tweaks before I get to the texture, appearance, flavor I had in mind. This one fits the bill and then some.

I actually don’t need all the burger shenanigans that go around the patties, these are perfect as is, with a few veggies on the side and a sunny summer backyard, or sweet potato fries –which is actually what I had for lunch. My not-as-vegan-oriented-as-me better half was sold with the first bite. They have the added bonus of a slightly falafel-like aftertaste, thanks to the cumin flavor, which does make everything better in life.

Now I want to try veggie burgers with all the legumes out there. What plans I have for the rest of the summer! Goodie.

steaks de lentilles vegan lentil patties


Vegan lentil patties

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yields 8 patties (serves 4 to 6)


- 15 oz (400 g) cooked green lentils (see My tips below)
- 1 onion, thinly chopped
-2 small cloves garlic (or 1 big, halved), germs removed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- vegetable oil


1. Mince 1 clove garlic. Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the chopped onion and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until translucent and slightly golden.

2. Add all the ingredients, including the remaining garlic clove (except the vegetable oil) to the bowl of your food processor and puree until incorporated, but still lumpy (do not puree until smooth, only until you can’t tell the lentils apart from the mixture.)

3. Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat (use the same skillet), and drop a plum-size dollop of mixture into the skillet (with your hands or a spoon, the batter will be pretty sticky!), then spread it with a spoon to shape into patties. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Serve warm.


steaks de lentilles vegan lentil pattiesMy tips:

- I cooked my green lentils with diced carrots and added ground cumin to the cooking water for more flavor (and veggies.)
- Almond butter being pretty liquid, you can lower the amount you add here for more texture in the finished patties.

Source: slightly adapted from Fait Maison Vegan.

Easy microwave hummus

houmous inratable - easy microwave hummus

I’ve finally reached the holy grail of dip kingdom: the easy failproof hummus. It had come to the point where I was *ahem* buying my own hummus, so lazy was I to make it on my own, not to mention wary of the result. All the soaking and the blending… I could never make it as good as the store-bought –don’t tell the food blogging universe I said that, my blogging license would probably be revoked.

Now I’ve got it down, and I’m not letting it go. So much so that it’s the middle of summer, I’m beyond swamped, what with all that sunbathing and backyard dining, and yet I just had to share this one with you. Right. Now. It is after all a pretty perfect summer dish. Takes five minutes, totally forgiving (I love when that happens in cooking), requires no complex maneuver on your part, and makes a crowd happy. Or just your plus one, who may even say it’s the best hummus he/she’s ever had. Only if you’re lucky. Enjoy!

houmous inratable - easy microwave hummus


Easy microwave hummus

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Yields 1 medium bowl


- 1 (15 oz = 400 g) can chick peas, NOT drained
- 2 – 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 drizzle olive oil (2 – 3 tbsp)


1. Place the undrained chick peas in a microwave safe bowl, add the whole peeled garlic cloves, and heat for 5 minutes.

2. Place the mixture (with the chickpea water) in your food processor, add the tahini and lemon juice, and puree, gradually drizzling in the olive oil, until you reach the desired consistency (the more you blend, the smoother the hummus.) Season with salt according to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

houmous inratable - easy microwave hummusMy tips:

- The garlic and lemon measurements are indicative; adjust to your taste. The same goes with olive oil as far as texture is concerned.
- This hummus keeps refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Source: Minimalist Baker.

Peanut butter and chocolate frozen cheesecake (no bake)

cheesecake glacé chocolat beurre de cacahuètes - frozen peanut butter chocolate cheesecake

A few weeks ago I was lecturing you on my existential crisis relating to veganism, and here I am today posting the most decadent frozen and decidedly *not* vegan cheesecake you’ll ever see. I’m a creature of paradox, I guess. Though this time I have quite the alibi for being paradoxical: I had to make a birthday cake, the kind you don’t want to miss out on, especially when you already did last year on fairly random (albeit honest) excuses. So this year, I wanted to make this birthday sweetness extra special. I knew it would all have to start with the magical peanut butter + chocolate combination, because that’s really the only thing he cares about in this world.

I also knew the cake would require as little prep as possible, seeing as I’m currently having another 15-pound project that requires quite a bit of attention as well, and it would be all the better if I didn’t have to turn on my oven and could make it ahead of time and store it without a hitch. So when I came across the recipe for this cheesecake, I could tell instantly I had a winner. I tweaked it slightly and it still amounted to something crazy great, so I think frozen cheesecakes are pretty forgiving.

If you find 30 minutes during your summer to make this cheesecake, I can guarantee you will make quite a few people happy –not to mention this thing will last you for days, unless of course you’re living with a pack of starved hounds who favor peanut butter mixed with melted chocolate –it happens.

For more frozen cheesecake summer goodness, take a look at this recipe

cheesecake glacé chocolat beurre de cacahuètes - frozen peanut butter chocolate cheesecake

cheesecake glacé chocolat beurre de cacahuètes - frozen peanut butter chocolate cheesecake


Peanut butter and chocolate frozen cheesecake (no bake)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Chill time: 8 hours
Serves 6 to 8


For the crust:

- 28 oreos
- 6 – 7 tbsp (100 g) butter, melted

For the cheesecake filling:

- 7 oz (200 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 9 oz (250 g) mascarpone
- 1 1/4 cup (300 ml = 10 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 10.5 oz (1 heaping cup) peanut butter

For the topping:

- 7 oz dark chocolate
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 5 oz (about 150 g, or scant 1 1/2 cups) mini peanut butter cups, halved or roughly chopped


1. To make the crust: Blend the oreos in your food processor until finely crumbled. Place in a medium bowl and mix with melted butter. Lighlty oil the bottom of an 8″ springform pan, then pour the mixture into the pan and pressed evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides with your fingers. Refrigerate for later.

2. To make the cheesecake filling: Beat the room temperature cream cheese and vanilla extract with a stand mixer or electric beaters for about 30 seconds, until smooth and creamy. Beat in the mascarpone until creamy, then beat in the peanut butter until incorporated. Beat in the condensed milk until smooth. Pour onto the prepared crust, then freeze for at least 1 – 2 hours before adding the topping (the top of the filling will need to have hardened a bit.)

3. To make the topping: In a saucepan or a double boiler over medium heat, heat the chocolate in chunks and coconut oil, until smooth and completely melted. Pour onto cheesecake filling, add the chopped peanut butter cups, then freeze overnight. Remove from the freezer and let sit a couple minutes before slicing with a sharp knife.


cheesecake glacé chocolat beurre de cacahuètes - frozen peanut butter chocolate cheesecakeMy tips:

- You can halve the measurements of chocolate and coconut oil to make the topping if you wish: as it is, it is oh so yummy but also a bit thick to cut through when coming right out of the freezer (some will say it’s not exactly an issue…)
- Make it ahead and keep in your freezer for several days (just like you would ice cream).

Source: adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

15 savory summer recipes

15 savory summer recipes

Summer has been a long time time coming in my neck of the woods. In fact, depending on your location on the map, you may have heard of the floods we’ve been having in Paris –the worst in over a century. That ought to give you an idea on where things stand in terms of summer feel.

It’s bad guys, and every new day that we wake up to a rainy sky, we feel more and more down. We need sun! We’re wired to be suffocating in the subway and hating on the absence of AC anywhere in Paris public spaces at this point. Instead we’re forgetting umbrellas one at a time every time we go out, and wonder how long we’re going to have to wear our winter boots (sigh).

To remedy this, I’ve decided to take action, by pretending, at least on this blog, that we are in fact in late June, and that today is indeed THE FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF SUMMER. I may be in denial, but I guess it’s the life-saving kind of denial. So let’s get started with all things tomato, zucchini and eggplant, preferably roasted and colorful because colors are life.

(Click on the picture for the recipe)
bruschetta-parmesan-courgettes-zucchini-Parmesan zucchini bruschetta is not a bad way to kick off summer.


Red bean, corn and avocado salad, aka Mexican salad, aka cabinet salad, aka the easiest salad on the planet.


This string bean salad with feta, walnuts and mint isn’t technically summer fare, but it was too pretty to pass up.


Pasta and squash ribbon salad with lemon — fun to look at, fun to make, fun to eat.

spaghetti de courgettes

Another variation on the zucchini noodle trend: zucchini noodles with roasted cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and lemon.


Polenta casserole with roasted cherry tomatoes and green onions –because in case you haven’t noticed, roasted tomatoes = life.

salade de haricots noirs et tomates rôties

Did I mention I love roasted tomatoes? This black bean and roasted tomato salad deserves that much love.


Moving on from tomatoes, eggplants are the star of this show, where carbs aren’t even invited. From all the positive feedback I’ve been getting on this recipe for years, it’s safe to say you can go ahead and make it, you’re going to be wowed — Mini eggplant pizzas.


You may have noticed a pattern here: roasted veggies + feta => always a win. Quinoa with roasted vegetables and feta.

caprese-empanadas-tomates mozza basilic

These caprese empanadas are such a hit that *several* restaurant website have used the pic above to advertise their own food. That has to mean something in terms of yumminess, right?

(If you’re not that much into dough-making, skip right ahead to these caprese phyllo dumplings, with step-by-step pictures on how to fold them (spoiler: even a seven-year-old can do it.))

salade haricots blancs et tomates cerise à la menthe

A slightly different and refreshing take on summer with this cannellini bean, cherry tomato and mint salad.

muffin tomates oignons rouge curry

I swear I’m not sponsored by a cherry tomato brand –but what I can tell you is that every other time I have people over, these cherry tomato, red onion and curry muffins are on the table.

salade du berger turque

I know you think this is so basic, but this Turkish shepherd’s salad goes so great with falafel, hummus, pitta bread, or anything really, that it deserves a spot on this list for sure.

salade mangue avocat oignons rouge - avocado mango red onion salad

A touch of exoticism with this mango, avocado and red onion salad. I don’t know what I like best in it: the mix of colors, textures, or flavors… So much going on in there.

bruschetta tomates

To round up the list, classic bruschetta: one of the very first recipes I posted on this blog — which goes to show even back then I knew what this was all about.

Lemon and almond loaf (vegan)

cake vegetal citron amandes -vegan lemon almond loaf

Guys, it’s been a month. I’m so embarrassed. I don’t think I ever lapsed from the blogosphere for so long, in the four and something years I’ve been around. I could give you a million valid reasons for my radio silence, one of them being the pile of full boxes currently sitting in my bedroom, or the pile of empty-waiting-to-be-filled boxes lined up in my kitchen. I am literally in between, which is always a confusing time.

Not to mention the (not so) tiny (anymore) gremlin taking up all my time and energy and love and interest these days, who made me forget the time when cooking was the best therapy for me. Cuddling works pretty well too, I have to say.

So I am not going to tell you about all this (private life, yuck), and instead I am going to focus on one thing today: PLANT BASED DIETS. I have a deep and abiding respect for those of you who follow a plant-based diet. I can’t say that I will get there one day myself, but I do feel that it’s the right thing to do for so many reasons, the most convincing as far as I’m concerned being the environment. I’m sure most of you have heard that horrifying figure by now: you need 15 000 liters of water (that’s almost 4000 gallons) to produce 1 kg (that’s 2 lb) of meat. Staggering to even try to fathom what that means.

So even if I still love my unpasteurized cheese and I may or may not have a milk carton sitting in my refrigerator as I type, I feel like gradually switching to a vegan way of cooking makes sense. Actually, I think that’s even truer as far as baking is concerned, especially when you realize with oh so much joy and pride that you can bake anything without butter or eggs. Like this bread which is light and fluffy and lemony and loafy as can be. No one will ever know you based it on plants (see what I did there?), I swear. Gotta start somewhere. Let’s do this!

cake vegetal citron amandes -vegan lemon almond loaf


Lemon and almond loaf (vegan)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Yields 1 loaf


- 3/4 cup (100 g) whole almonds
- 1 1/2 (200 g) cups flour
- 1/2 almond meal
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 8.5 oz (240 g) silk tofu
- 1/4 cup (60 g) cassonade
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) plant milk (oat milk for me)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp rice or cider vinegar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- about 1/3 cup sliced almonds, to decorate


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a wide loaf pan with parchment, and grease the uncovered sides, if there are any. Pulse the whole almonds 3 – 4 times in a food processor to roughly chop them.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the silk tofu, cassonade and vanilla sugar, until smooth. Whisk in the flour mixture in three installments, until smooth. Whisk in the milk until combined. Stir in the vinegar, almond extract and lemon zest.

3. Stir the chopped almonds into the batter, and pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with sliced almonds, and bake for 35 minutes.


cake vegetal citron amandes -vegan lemon almond loafMy tips:

- My loaf baked for 40 minutes, it was delicious but it could have been slightly more moist — that’s why I suggest a 35 minute baking time.
- The original recipe used 12 oz silk tofu, which might also yield a moister bread.

Source: slighty adapted from Sweet Kwisine.

One pot pasta provencale

one pot pasta à la provençale

It’s been forever and a day since I was last here to say hi and entertain you with my sleepless life stories, so if you’ve missed me, I apologize. Just know that I’ve missed you too. I’ve missed the cooking, the arranging the food so it looks half decent while ignoring the huge mess in the kitchen, the taking pictures of said food when there are a million chores more urgent to tackle, the putting the camera away in an instant so we can finally eat the damn food I’ve so carefully photographed, the feeling like my best is never good enough. I’ve missed it all.

Now that my gremlin, flesh of my flesh, has given me the gift of time (read: a whole 30 minutes without yelling or crying or screaming — those are three very different things for a baby), I’ve decided to put it to good use, and make the now way-too-popular one pot pasta. It’s not like I haven’t done it before, but it’s just that this dish was simply perfect today. Why? Let me make you a list:

- I had all the ingredients on hand, which means no running to the store with a half-dressed, half-hungry, half-awake, half-fidgety baby. NO GOING OUT OF THE HOUSE. Kind of my new favorite life goal, along with no getting dressed before 2 pm. Please don’t tell anyone.

- It helped clear out my pantry, which has been another goal of mine lately since we’re moving out soon. Turns out, with this recipe, I killed many birds with one stone, and I didn’t have to scratch my head thinking “How can I combine canned salmon (?! where did that come from anyway), crackers, canned pumpkin and cornmeal in an elegant yet sensible meal?”. I usually like such challenges, but these days I’m learning to lower my self-expectations and tune out my overachieving temper.

- It’s vegan. No need to expand on that one.

- It’s creamy. As in “Why the heck is this pasta dish so creamy, did I inadvertently add cream in while cooking it?” #sleeplessnights

- It’s comforting. Comfort is all I ask for when I haven’t slept in 15 weeks and counting, and don’t know when I’ll have time to wash my hair next. Go with the flow girl, and embrace the comfort. Pasta = heart.

one pot pasta à la provençale


One pot pasta provencale

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4


- 1 lb pasta (whole wheat penne for me)
- 1 oignon, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced and germs removed
- 1/2 cup (60 g) pitted green olives, chopped
- 1 cup (280 g) sundried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped + 3 tbsp oil from the jar
- freshly cracked pepper
- 4 1/2 cups water


1. Place all ingredients in a large sauté pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring very regularly for even cooking, until all the liquid has been absorbed (about 10 minutes).

2. Taste the pasta: if too al dente, add 2 tbsp water and simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed, the pasta is cooked and the consistency is creamy. Adjust seasoning and serve warm.


one pot pasta à la provençaleMy tips: 

- I didn’t add any salt because there was enough with the canned olives and sundried tomatoes for my taste.
- The amount of water needed will vary according to the type of pasta used. I guess using whole wheat pasta makes the cooking time slightly longer. Adjust water and cooking time, tasting your pasta after 10 minutes.

Source: adapted from La p’tite cuisine de Pauline.

Oatmeal and wheat bran cookies

biscuits légers avoine son de blé - oatmeal and wheat bran cookies

I had wheat bran in my cabinets. So of course, after a quick internet search, I set out to make Digestive –some of the most addictive cookies out there, if you ask me. I remember last summer when I discovered chocolate-filled Digestive sandwich cookies, I literally had to look away so I didn’t have the whole package in one sitting. Every morning I would get out of bed with the firm resolution to be reasonable as far as chocolate-filled Digestive were concerned. I haven’t bought another box since. True story.

But this story is not about that. Actually, the recipe I came across ended up being a bit far from the original Digestive recipe, but nevermind, it taught me something else. I will eventually make real Digestive cookies, but in the meantime, thanks to this recipe I realized that you can have delicious and deliciously healthy (and vegan!) cookies with very little refined sugar in them, and still enjoy them to the fullest. And you can also use the magic little trick that is wheat bran in basic recipes such as cookies to your advantage: wholesome and tasty, my basic dream combination.

In truth, you can barely taste the sugar in these little things, but that’s part of their beauty, in my humble opinion. My sugar-addicted better half (and that’s putting it mildly –the addiction, not the ‘better’ part) even said repeatedly how much he loved them because these were not ‘threatening’. His words. If you’ve ever had a whole box of chocolate-filled cookies (or chocolate bar? Or chocolate-filled cookies with a chocolate bar?) in one sitting, you’ll know what this means.

biscuits légers avoine son de blé - oatmeal and wheat bran cookies

biscuits légers avoine son de blé - oatmeal and wheat bran cookies


Oatmeal and wheat bran cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yields about 25 small cookies


- 1 cup (75 g) instant oats
- 1/2 cup (50 g) wheat bran
- 1/4 cup (50 g) cassonade
- 3/4 cup (100 g) flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 oz (120 g) vegan margarine
- 1/4 cup water


1. Roughly pulse the oats in your food processor for a few seconds. In a bowl, stir the oats, bran, cassonade, flour and baking powder.

2. Add the margarine in pieces and mix with your fingers until you get a crumbly dough. Add the water and knead to shape into a ball. Cover with wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Shape walnut-size balls with the dough, press between the palms of your hands to flatten, and place on prepared baking sheet, slightly apart from one another. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edge starts to turn golden. Remove from oven (the cookies will still be very soft!) and let cool for a few minutes before serving or storing.


biscuits légers avoine son de blé - oatmeal and wheat bran cookies My tips:

- The original recipe uses butter — if you do so, use softened butter.
- This recipe is vegan if you use vegan margarine.
- I tried refrigerating the dough 30 minutes or overnight (even slightly longer), it holds up well in both cases and the end result is identical.

Source: Odélices.